Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Abraham Lincoln: A Life

by Thomas Keneally

From the publisher:
The ideal concise biography of an American icon — now available in paperback for the bicentennial of his birth

The self-made man from a log cabin, the great orator, the Emancipator, the Savior of the Union, the martyr—Lincoln’s story is at the very heart of American history. But who was he, really? In this outstanding biography, award-winning author Thomas Keneally follows Lincoln from his impoverished birth through his education and presidency. From the development of his political philosophy to his troubled family life and his actions during the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln is an incisive study of a turning point in our history and a revealing portrait of a pivotal figure.

"They Have Killed Papa Dead!": The Road to Ford's Theatre, Abraham Lincoln's Murder, and the Rage for Vengeance

by Anthony Pitch

From the publisher:
The assassination of Abraham Lincoln is a central drama of the American experience. Its impact is felt to this day, and the basic story is known to all. Anthony Pitch’s thrilling account of the Lincoln conspiracy and its aftermath transcends the mere facts of that awful night during which dashing actor John Wilkes Booth shot Lincoln in the head and would-be assassin Lewis Payne butchered Secretary of State William Seward in the bed of his own home. “They Have Killed Papa Dead!” transports the reader to one of the most breathtaking moments in history, and reveals much that is new about the stories, passions, and times of those who shaped this great tragedy.

Virtually every word of Anthony Pitch’s account is based on primary source material: new quotes from previously unpublished diaries, letters and journals – authentic contemporary voices writing with freshness and clarity as eyewitnesses or intimate participants – new images, a new vision and understanding of one of America’s defining moments. With an unwavering fidelity to historical accuracy, Pitch provides new confirmation of threats against the president-elect’s life as he traveled to Washington by train for his first inauguration, and a vivid personal account of John Wilkes Booth being physically restrained from approaching Lincoln at his second inauguration. Perhaps most chillingly, new details come to light about conditions in the special prison where the civilian conspirators accused of participating in the Lincoln assassination endured tortuous conditions in extreme isolation and deprivation, hooded and shackled, before and even during their military trial. Pitch masterfully synthesizes the findings of his prodigious research into a tight, gripping narrative that adds important new insights to our national story.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Best American History Essays on Lincoln

by the Organization of American Historians, Sean Wilentz (Editor)

From the publisher:
This new volume in the Best American History Essays series brings together classic writing from top American historians on one of our greatest presidents. Ranging from incisive assessments of his political leadership, to explorations of his enigmatic character, to reflections on the mythos that has become inseparable from the man, each of these contributions expands our understanding of Abraham Lincoln and shows why he has been such an object of enduring fascination. Contributions include: James McPherson on Lincoln the military strategist; Richard Hofstadter on the Lincoln legend; Edmund Wilson on his contribution to American letters; John Hope Franklin on the Emancipation Proclamation; James Horton on Lincoln and race; David M. Potter on the secession; Richard Current on Lincoln's political genius; Mark Neely on Lincoln and civil liberties.

Douglass and Lincoln: How a Revolutionary Black Leader and a Reluctant Liberator Struggled to End Slavery and Save the Union

by Paul and Stephen Kendrick

From the publisher:
This book charts the influence Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln had on each other and on the nation altered the course of slavery and the outcome of the Civil War.

Although Abraham Lincoln deeply opposed the existence of slavery, he saw his mission throughout much of the Civil War as preserving the Union, with or without slavery. Frederick Douglass, a former slave, passionately believed the war’s central mission to be the total abolition of slavery. During their meetings between 1863 and 1865, and through reading each other’s speeches and letters, they managed to forge a strong, mutual understanding and respect that helped convince Lincoln the war could not be truly won without black soldiers and permanent emancipation.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Concise Historical Atlas of the U.S. Civil War

by Aaron Sheehan-Dean

From the publisher:
There are few events as central to the American historical consciousness as the Civil War, which is a fascinating area of interest for students and general readers alike. One of the most efficient ways to study a war is with an atlas; however, most of the atlases devoted to this period focus almost exclusively on military movements and are prohibitively expensive for use in undergraduate courses. Offering a striking and reasonably priced alternative to these books, the Concise Historical Atlas of the U.S. Civil War is the only atlas that includes data maps and covers key issues before and after the war years. It balances military and non-military coverage, presenting maps that deal with political and social changes as well as campaign and battle maps.

Laid out chronologically and representing the complexity of the war both visually and textually, Concise Historical Atlas of the U.S. Civil War is an ideal study aid. Through detailed presentation of physical geography, it highlights the role of the landscape in troop movements and in social and demographic developments. Students can follow all the major campaigns of both the eastern and western theaters, examine the tactical movements in the major battles, and explore the geographic patterns behind issues like emancipation, occupation, and internal conflicts. The atlas features maps dealing with such subjects as economic capacity (both agricultural and industrial), enlistment rates, and the movement of escaped slaves. The maps also integrate information on the divisions that existed within the North and the South themselves.

Accessible to students with limited geographic knowledge, the maps are clearly labeled, with key features marked. Each map is accompanied by a short narrative that provides helpful contextual information.

Featuring uniquely comprehensive coverage, the Concise Historical Atlas of the U.S. Civil War includes several maps situating the conflict in its antebellum origins as well as maps--of politics, sharecropping, and race relations--that extend the story through the end of Reconstruction. Ideal for use in U.S. Civil War History, Civil War and Reconstruction, and Southern History courses, this volume offers both novice and more experienced students new perspectives on the most significant events and circumstances of the era.

Aaron Sheehan-Dean is a Professor of History at the University of North Florida.

"This unique atlas includes the usual maps of military campaigns and battles--but much more besides. The maps illustrating political and social developments during Reconstruction as well as the Civil War are a valuable feature not found in other atlases. The essays accompanying each map offer a concise history of the era as an added bonus."--James M. McPherson, author of Battle Cry of Freedom

"This atlas meets a longstanding need in the field of Civil War-era studies by presenting a wealth of military, political, social, and economic information in an easy-to-use format. Its combination of clear maps and Aaron Sheehan-Dean's perceptive accompanying text should appeal to a wide audience of both beginning and veteran students."--Gary W. Gallagher, author of Causes Won, Lost, and Forgotten

"I was initially skeptical of the need for another Civil War atlas. This one provides easy-to-understand maps and text for the general student. It simplifies some complex information without being simplistic."--Mackubin Thomas Owens, Professor of National Security Studies, U.S. Naval War College

Monday, December 1, 2008

Antietam, South Mountain, and Harpers Ferry: A Battlefield Guide

by Ethan S. Rafuse

From the publisher:
In September 1862 the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia and the Union Army of the Potomac conducted one of the truly great campaigns of the Civil War. At South Mountain, Harpers Ferry, and Antietam, North and South clashed in engagements whose magnitude and importance would earn this campaign a distinguished place in American military history. The siege of Harpers Ferry produced the largest surrender of U.S. troops in the nation’s history until World War II, while the day-long battle at Antietam on September 17 still holds the distinction of being the single bloodiest day of combat in American history.

This invaluable book provides a clear, convenient, stop-by-stop guide to the sites in Maryland and West Virginia associated with the Antietam campaign, including excursions to Harpers Ferry and South Mountain. Thorough descriptions and analyses, augmented with vignettes and numerous maps, convey the mechanics as well as the human experience of the campaign, making this book the perfect companion for both serious students of the Civil War and casual visitors to its battlefields.

Ethan S. Rafuse is an associate professor of military history at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. He is the author of several books, including McClellan’s War: The Failure of Moderation in the Struggle for the Union, and is the coeditor of The Ongoing Civil War: New Versions of Old Stories.

"Excellent guides at a reasonable price, written by experts on the battle."—James Durney, Suncoast Civil War Society Newsletter

“A refreshing and original study of America’s bloodiest day that is free of the clich├ęs found in some previous works on this subject. Using original sources and consulting the latest scholarship on Antietam, Rafuse has written a superb battle and campaign study.”—Ted Alexander, chief historian of Antietam National Battlefield

“Insightful and informed, written in a graceful style, with excellent maps, Antietam, South Mountain, and Harpers Ferry: A Battlefield Guide will be an invaluable resource for the Civil War aficionado, as well as the casual visitor to the battlefield.”—Edwin C. Bearss, chief historian emeritus of the National Park Service

“Teems with incisive narratives, telling vignettes, and astute analysis. First-time visitors and seasoned students of the Civil War alike can learn much by consulting this work before, during, and after they tour the site of the costliest single day in American military history.”—Carol Reardon, professor of military history at Pennsylvania State University

More Damning than Slaughter: Desertion in the Confederate Army

by Mark A. Weitz

From the publisher:
More Damning than Slaughter is the first broad study of desertion in the Confederate army.

Incorporating extensive archival research with a synthesis of other secondary material, Mark A. Weitz confronts a question never fully addressed until now: did desertion hurt the Confederacy? Coupled with problems such as speculation, food and clothing shortages, conscription, taxation, and a pervasive focus on the protection of local interests, desertion started as a military problem and spilled over into the civilian world.

Fostered by a military culture that treated absenteeism leniently early in the war, desertion steadily increased and by 1863 reached epidemic proportions. A Union policy that permitted Confederate deserters to swear allegiance to the Union and then return home encouraged desertion. Equally important in persuading men to desert was the direct appeal from loved ones on the home front - letters from wives begging soldiers to come home for harvests, births, and other events.

By 1864 deserter bands infested some portion of every Confederate state. Preying on the civilian population, many of these bands became irregular military units that frustrated virtually every effort to subdue them. Ultimately, desertion not only depleted the Confederate army but also threatened 'home' and undermined civilian morale.

By examining desertion, Weitz assesses how deteriorating southern civilian morale and growing unwillingness to contribute goods and services to the war led to defeat.

Mark A. Weitz is the former director of the Civil War Era Studies Program at Gettysburg College. He is the author of "A Higher Duty: Desertion among Georgia Troops" during the American Civil War

Faces of the Confederacy: An Album of Southern Soldiers and Their Stories

by Ronald S. Coddington

From the publisher:

"A charming book for enthusiasts, and a tribute to the excellent detective work of the author." -- Elizabeth D. Leonard, Colby College

"Ronald S. Coddington has scored a masterpiece again. As a follow-up to his much applauded Faces of the Civil War featuring Union soldiers and sailors, he has authored a sequel. This time Confederates are center stage as they proudly pose for the all-important cartes de visite that are as treasured today by collectors and buffs as by their home folks and comrades of long ago. Complementing these are biographical profiles that inform but do not overwhelm, reminding us that each haunting face is a real person who lived, served and died many years ago." -- Edwin C. Bearss, National Park Service

"With his meticulous research and a journalist's eye for good stories, Ron Coddington has brought new life to Civil War photographic portraits of obscure and long-forgotten Confederates whose wartime experiences might otherwise have been lost to history. This is more than just a fine compilation of Civil War photographs." -- Bob Zeller, Center for Civil War Photography

"Ron Coddington has produced a fine new volume that will take its place beside William A. Albaugh's Confederate Faces and several other Confederate photographic histories. Faces of the Confederacy continues the tradition of publishing Confederate soldier portraits, but instead of the standard fare of somewhat small photographs and brief captions, he provides us with full page pictures and the thoroughly researched stories of each individual depicted, widening our understanding of these men far beyond the normal presentation. In the world of Civil War photography, it is rare to find something that is truly new, but this book fits that bill." -- Les Jensen, West Point Museum

On to Atlanta: The Civil War Diaries of John Hill Ferguson, Illinois Tenth Regiment of Volunteers

by John Hill Ferguson (Author), Janet Correll Ellison (Editor), Mark A. Weitz (Editor)

From the publisher:
Historians have shown us the drama and sweep of the swathe Sherman's March cut through the South. Officers have bequeathed us accounts of what happened in strategic and practical terms. But for a gritty, day-by-day, on-the-ground view of what the march to Atlanta meant to the common soldier, nothing can compare to the diary of an enlisted man like John Hill Ferguson.

A Scottish immigrant and a U.S. citizen since 1856, Ferguson enlisted in the Illinois Veteran Volunteers in 1860 and shortly afterward began to keep a diary. The annotated entries presented here, from 1864 and 1865, describe life in the Tenth Illinois as the troops made their way through the Carolinas and Georgia under Sherman. In these pages the details of Civil War soldiering become real, immediate, and personal, as do the daily dramas of life on the march. Smallpox struck Ferguson's unit early on, decimating his company; food, when there was any, was invariably poor; and always Confederate defenders waited up ahead, exacting a heavy toll on the advancing Northerners. These events and details, conveyed with all the force of Ferguson's fine intellect and superior powers of observation, offer an unforgettable firsthand view of that savage contest.

Reluctant Partners: Nashville and the Union, 1863–1865

by Walter T. Durham

From the publisher:
In 1862, Nashville became the first Southern state capital to be captured by the Union Army; that occupation would not end until after the Civil War's conclusion in 1865. In two incisive books, first published more than twenty years ago and available once more for a new generation of readers, Walter T. Durham traces occupied Nashville's reluctant transition from Rebel stronghold to partner of the Union.

Together, Nashville and Reluctant Partners highlight the importance of local history within Civil War scholarship and assess the impact of the war on people other than combat soldiers and places other than battlefields. Nashville examines the first seventeen months of the Union occupation, showing how the local population coped with the sudden presence of an enemy force. It also explores the role of military governor Andrew Johnson and how he asserted his authority over the city. Reluctant Partners depicts a city coming to grips with the rapidly fading prospect of a Confederate victory and how, faced with this reality, its citizens began to cooperate with Johnson and the Union. Their reward was a booming economy and scant battle damage.

With new prefaces discussing the two decades of scholarship that have emerged since these books' original appearance, these volumes offer an absorbing view of Union occupation at the most local of levels. Durham's volumes remain at the forefront of reconsidering the Civil War in the Upper South. Students and scholars of the Civil War-particularly in its social dimensions-as well as devotees of Tennessee history will find these new editions invaluable.

Walter T. Durham is the author of seventeen books, including Balie Peyton of Tennessee: Nineteenth-Century Politics and Thoroughbreds and Volunteer Forty-niners: Tennesseans and the California Gold Rush. He has been the Tennessee state historian since 2002.

Nashville: The Occupied City, 1862-1863

by Walter T. Durham

From the publisher:
In 1862, Nashville became the first Southern state capital to be captured by the Union Army; that occupation would not end until after the Civil War's conclusion in 1865. In two incisive books, first published more than twenty years ago and available once more for a new generation of readers, Walter T. Durham traces occupied Nashville's reluctant transition from Rebel stronghold to partner of the Union.

Together, Nashville and Reluctant Partners highlight the importance of local history within Civil War scholarship and assess the impact of the war on people other than combat soldiers and places other than battlefields. Nashville examines the first seventeen months of the Union occupation, showing how the local population coped with the sudden presence of an enemy force. It also explores the role of military governor Andrew Johnson and how he asserted his authority over the city. Reluctant Partners depicts a city coming to grips with the rapidly fading prospect of a Confederate victory and how, faced with this reality, its citizens began to cooperate with Johnson and the Union. Their reward was a booming economy and scant battle damage.

With new prefaces discussing the two decades of scholarship that have emerged since these books' original appearance, these volumes offer an absorbing view of Union occupation at the most local of levels. Durham's volumes remain at the forefront of reconsidering the Civil War in the Upper South. Students and scholars of the Civil War-particularly in its social dimensions-as well as devotees of Tennessee history will find these new editions invaluable.

Walter T. Durham is the author of seventeen books, including Balie Peyton of Tennessee: Nineteenth-Century Politics and Thoroughbreds and Volunteer Forty-niners: Tennesseans and the California Gold Rush. He has been the Tennessee state historian since 2002.

Virginia at War, 1863

by William C. Davis (Editor), James I. Robertson (Editor)

From the publisher:
Between the epic battles of 1862 and the grueling and violent military campaigns that would follow, the year 1863 was oddly quiet for the Confederate state of Virginia. Only one major battle was fought on its soil, at Chancellorsville, and the conflict was one of the Army of Northern Virginia’s greatest victories. Yet the pressures of the Civil War turned the daily lives of Virginians—young and old, men and women, civilians and soldiers—into battles of their own.

Despite minimal combat, 1863 was an eventful year in Virginia history—Stonewall Jackson died within its borders and Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address. In Virginia at War, 1863, editors William C. Davis and James I. Robertson Jr. present these and other key events, as well as a discussion of the year’s military land operations to reveal the political, social, and cultural ramifications of the ongoing national conflict.

By this time, the war had profoundly transformed nearly every aspect of Virginia life and culture, from education to religion to commerce. Mounting casualties and depleted resources made the citizens of the Commonwealth feel the deprivations of war more deeply than ever. Virginia at War, 1863 surveys these often overlooked elements of the conflict. Contributors focus on the war’s impact on Virginia’s children and its newly freed slaves. They shed light on the origins of the Hatfield-McCoy feud, explore the popularity of scrapbooking as a form of personal recordkeeping, and consider the changing role of religion during wartime and the uncertain faith of Virginia’s Christians. The book concludes with the 1863 entries of the Diary of a Southern Refugee by Richmond’s Judith Brockenbrough McGuire.

At the midpoint of the Civil War, the hostility of this great American struggle had become an ingrained part of Virginia life. Virginia at War, 1863 is the third volume of a five-book series that reexamines the Commonwealth’s history as an integral part of the Confederacy. The series looks beyond military campaigns and tactics to consider how the war forever changed the people, culture, and society of Virginia.

The Making of a Southerner: William Barclay Napton's Private Civil War

by Christopher Phillips

From the publisher:
William B. Napton was an editor, lawyer, and state supreme court justice who lived in Missouri during the tumultuous American nineteenth century. The highly educated former New Jerseyite became the owner or trustee of nearly fifty slaves and a proslavery ideologue. His story offers insights into the process of southernization, one driven more by sectional ideology and politics than by elements of a distinctive southern culture.

Napton s southern evolution was only completed after he had constructed a politicized memory of the Civil War. By suffering for the South, he claimed by right what he could not by birth. Napton became a southerner by choice.

Christopher Phillips is Professor of History at the University of Cincinnati. He is the author of four previous books, including Missouri s Confederate: Claiborne Fox Jackson and the Creation of Southern Identity in the Border West and coeditor of The Union on Trial: The Political Journals of Judge William Barclay Napton, 1829 1883, both available from the University of Missouri Press.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Lincoln's Assassins: A Complete Account of Their Capture, Trial, and Punishment

by Roy Z. Chamlee Jr.

From the publisher:
A stunning compilation of research into War Department files, pretrial and trial testimony (the actual words), newspaper accounts and manuscript collections.

Powerful Cabinet members, popular generals, forceful politicians and others: This book probes the background and character of everyone involved.

Roy Z. Chamlee, Jr., lives in Nashville, Tennessee.

Texas Confederate, Reconstruction Governor: James Webb Throckmorton

by Kenneth Wayne Howell

From the publisher:
Of the 174 delegates to the Texas convention on secession in 1861, only 8 voted against the motion to secede. James Webb Throckmorton of McKinney was one of them. Yet upon the outbreak of the Civil War, he joined the Confederate Army and fought in a number of campaigns. At war's end, his centrist position as a conservative Unionist ultimately won him election as governor. Still, his refusal to support the Fourteenth Amendment or to protect aggressively the rights and physical welfare of the freed slaves led to clashes with military officials and his removal from office in 1867.Throckmorton's experiences reveal much about southern society and highlight the complexities of politics in Texas during the latter half of the nineteenth century. Because his life spans one of the most turbulent periods in Texas politics, Texas Confederate, Reconstruction Governor, the first book on Throckmorton in nearly seventy years, will provide new insights for anyone interested in the Antebellum era, the Civil War, and the troubled years of Reconstruction.

"It is high time for such a well-written study. The last biography of Throckmorton came out more than sixty-nine years ago, and Howell's effort exceeds it on all counts . . . " -- James M. Smallwood, author, The Feud That Wasn't

Pictorial History Of The Confederacy

by John Chandler Griffin

From the publisher:
Rather than diminishing with time, the fascination with the Confederacy and its heroes seems to grow increasingly stronger. This volume features a wide selection of rarely seen photographs of Confederate heroes, such as Robert E. Lee, "Stonewall" Jackson, Jubal Early, Nathan Bedford Forest, A.P. Hill and Jeb Stuart, along with details of their military careers and personal lives that are little known to the average reader.

Arranged chronologically and geographically, this book features descriptions of more than forty battles of the War Between the States, along with battle maps, which illustrate where the Confederates and the Union antagonists were located during these various fights. The first section discusses and provides images from 1860 to 1861, during the secession to Fort Sumter. The author then discusses the major battles that occurred in 1861 in northern Virginia and in the South and West, providing several photographs that take on much of the story telling. The sections for the years 1862 to 1865 are arranged similarly and each section also includes background about the Southern battle flags from various groups such as The Texas Rangers (8th Texas Calvary) and the Confederate Navy.

Dr. John Chandler Griffin, Distinguished Professor Emeritus with the University of South Carolina, is the author of thirteen books and numerous magazine articles. Governor Jim Hodges recently named him to the Order of the Silver Crescent, the state's highest award.

The Revenue Imperative: The Union's Financial Policies During the American Civil War

by Jane Flaherty

From the publisher:
The Revenue Imperative provides a comprehensive overview of the Union financial policies during the American Civil War.

Flaherty argues that the revenue imperative, the need to keep pace with the burgeoning expenses of the conflict, governed the development of fiscal policy. Preserving the nation placed insurmountable strains on the antebellum structure of government, thus forcing a fundamental reorganization of the American financial system. Contingency, rather than a determined effort to implement an ideology or reward special interests, played the pivotal role in the development of the Republican response to financing the war. "The Revenue Imperative" closely examines the tariff and internal tax policies inaugurated during the Civil War.

Flaherty argues that this new revenue system, more than any other aspect of the war financial policies, changed the relationship between the government and the economy in the post-Civil War era.

Confederate Correspondent: The Civil War Reports of Jacob Nathaniel Raymer, Fourth North Carolina

by Jacob Nathaniel Raymer (Author), E. B. Munson (Editor)

From the publisher:
Soon after North Carolina seceded from the Union in May 1861, Jacob Nathaniel Raymer enlisted in the Confederate Army. A young man with a talent for keen observation who had pledged to keep those back home informed of the movements of Company C and the Fourth Regiment, he faithfully wrote letters to the Carolina Watchman and the Iredell Express.

Unlike other contemporary correspondence, rather than being directed to an individual, Nat’s letters were intended for the broader audience of area newspaper readers and portrayed the dogged determination of the southern soldiers in a descriptive style that brought the war and all its harsh realities home to his readers. The collection is transcribed primarily from the two newspapers and is complemented by brief narratives that place the letters within the Fourth Regiment’s movements. Raymer’s postwar experience is also documented through his personal correspondence.

Editor E.B. Munson works in the North Carolina Collection, Joyner Library at East Carolina University, where he writes the North Carolina Periodicals Index, an index of abstracts of articles from magazines published in North Carolina. He has written over 7,000 abstracts of articles and compiled and self-published 48 books of North Carolina history and genealogy.

The 83rd Pennsylvania Volunteers in the Civil War

by Michael Schellhammer

From the publisher:
The 83rd Pennsylvania Infantry suffered the second highest number of battle deaths of all the Union regiments, in every theater, throughout the course of the Civil War. They endured decimation at the battles of the Seven Days, Second Bull Run, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. Nevertheless, this hardy and determined unit was able to overcome loss, defeat and heartache through their enduring defense and preservation of the Union line during the pivotal battle of Gettysburg.

This book offers the first-ever comprehensive history of the 83rd Pennsylvania. It combines official war records, personal remembrances of veterans of the regiment, information derived from opposing Confederates, and secondary sources to produce a remarkable story of leadership, endurance, hardship and triumph. Actions and events are analyzed from multiple viewpoints. Overall, a detailed and thorough picture is offered of the 83rd's contribution to the preservation of the Union and defeats.

Michael Schellhammer is a professional army intelligence officer whose work has previously appeared in The Washington Post, The Washington Times and The Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin. He lives in Arlington, Virginia.

America's Civil War

by Brooks D. Simpson

From the publisher:
"Such is the continuing volume of work on the Civil War that we are regularly in need of an authoritative and accessible brief synthesis to keep us up to date with this endlessly fascinating subject. Brooks Simpson meets that need for the 1990s in America's Civil War, a wonderful feat of compression in which he addresses all the great issues of the war in 200 pages of clear and readable prose. Rightly, he puts the military history of the conflict at the center of the picture, but he excels in relating the drama of the war itself to the politics of both Union and Confederacy, to the stresses and strains-and opportunities-of the home front, and to the great issues of emancipation and reconstruction. This book is a fine achievement, and it will be invaluable not only to students but to many other readers-and even Civil War specialists will benefit from its fresh insights." - Peter J. Parish, Cambridge University

From CWBN:
This is the second edition of a previously published softcover textbook.

Pathway to Hell: A Tragedy of the American Civil War

by Dennis W. Brandt

From the publisher:
Shell-shock; battle fatigue; post-traumatic stress disorder; lacking moral courage: Different words for the same mental condition, formal names that change with observed circumstances and whenever experts feel the urge to invent a more suitable descriptive term for the shredding of the human spirit.

The specter of psychological dysfunction has marched beside all soldiers in all wars, always at the ready to ravish minds. Yet, rarely does it show itself when the topic is America's greatest conflict, the Civil War. A public that venerates well-preserved battlefields seems never to consider that mind-destroying terror was as much present at Gettysburg and Antietam as it was in Vietnam and is now in Baghdad and Afghanistan. This book presents the true but rare story of one young Pennsylvanian who marched into war with a patriotic chip on his shoulder only to stagger home under the burden a two-year life-and-death struggle had pressed upon him.

Dennis W. Brandt is an independent scholar.

Battles Without Bullets: Civil War Re-enactment and American Culture

by Randal Allred

From the publisher:
Near the end of his life, Confederate soldier Berry Benson wrote a passage that many Civil War reenactors now consider the clearest evocation of what they do: "Who knows but again the old flags, ragged and torn, snapping in the wind, may face each other and flutter, pursuing and pursued, while the cries of victory fill a summer day? And after the battle, then the slain and wounded will arise and all will meet together under the two flags, all sound and well, and there will be talking and laughter and cheers, and all will say: Did it now seem real? Was it not as in the old days?"

Here, through anecdotes, interviews with participants, and a keen analysis of his subject, Allred offers insight to this uniquely American phenomenon. Allred first puts the practices of "living history" (including "living museums" and medieval pageants) into their cultural and political contexts, and then moves on to discuss the history of reenacting itself. Further chapters consider reenacting as a hobby and as a cultural community. Allred addresses various questions about reenactment: Why the Civil War? Why this particular way of honoring it? Is this a form of historical catharsis? What are the stories being "told" on these battlefields? The resulting study is both penetrating and entertaining.

RANDAL ALLRED is Associate Professor of Literature and Humanities at Brigham Young University, Hawaii. He is the author of the chapter of "Living History and Battlefield Reenactments" for The Greenwood Guide to American Popular Culture.

Texas Civil War Artifacts: A Photographic Guide to the Physical Culture of Texas Civil War Soldiers

by Richard M. Ahlstrom

From the publisher:
One of the most popular literary subjects worldwide is the American Civil War. In addition to an enormous number of history buffs, there are tens of thousands of collectors of Civil War artifacts. In the last fifty years, several books have been written concerning the equipment associated with soldiers of specific Confederate states, but no book until now has ever chronicled the military equipment used by Texas soldiers.

Texas Civil War Artifacts is the first comprehensive guide to the physical culture of Texas Civil War soldiers.Texas military equipment differs in a number of ways from the equipment produced for the eastern Confederate states. Most of the Texas-produced equipment was blacksmithed, or local-artisan made, and in many cases featured the Lone Star as a symbol of Texas. Contemporary Civil War literature frequently mentions that most soldiers of Texas displayed the Lone Star somewhere on their uniform or equipment.In this groundbreaking volume, Richard Mather Ahlstrom has photographed and described more than five hundred Texas-related artifacts. He shows the diverse use of the Lone Star on hat pins, waist-belt plates, buckles, horse equipment, side knives, buttons, and canteens. In addition, the weapons that Texans used in the Civil War are featured in chapters on the Tucker Sherrard and Colt pistols; shotguns, rifles, and muskets; and swords. Rounding out the volume are chapters on leather accouterments, uniforms and headgear, and a gallery of Texas soldiers in photographs.This book will prove to be a valuable reference guide for Civil War collectors, historians, museum curators, reenactors, and federal and state agencies.

RICHARD MATHER AHLSTROM has lived in Texas since 1979. He graduated with an AB degree from Harvard University and completed the Executive Program of Amos Tuck School of Business Administration at Dartmouth College. He is retired from Diamond Shamrock Corporation, where he was a Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. He has previously written a book on prehistoric American Indian pipes. Long interested in the Civil War and Texas soldiers, Ahlstrom has amassed a personal collection of Texas Civil War artifacts.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Staff Ride Handbook for the Battle of Perryville, 8 October 1862: A Leavenworth Staff Ride from the Combat Studies Institute

by Robert S. Cameron

From the publisher:
This handbook serves to facilitate military staff rides to Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site in Kentucky.

Perryville does not face the threat of encroaching development. Following the course of the requires no special arrangements with property owners. It includes information concerning the nature of Civil War armies, the 1862 Kentucky campaign, maps, and more specialized material detailing the Armies of the Ohio and the Mississippi.

This guide offers a general sense of the flow of the battle of Perryville, punctuated by select snapshots of specific units and events for study and discussion. The battle provides an excellent vehicle for studying brigade and below operations.

Robert S. Cameron has served as the Armor Branch historian, Fort Knox, Kentucky, since 1996. He received a Ph.D. in modern military history from Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1994. He has published several articles on US tank development, the Armor Center’s urban combat training site, and historical precedents for Army transformation. He has supported staff rides for the Perryville Battlefield since 1997.

From CWBN:
This is the trade release of a previously published government document. The exact day of release this month is not known.

Staff Ride Handbook for the Overland Campaign, Virginia, 4 May - 15 June 1864: A Study in Operational-Level Command

by Lieutenant Colonel Steven E. Clay, Dr. William Glenn Robertson and Dr. Curtis S. King

From the publisher:
Today, the US Army considers the staff ride an essential aspect of historical education for the modern military professional.

This staff ride handbook analyzes Grant's 1864 campaign from the crossing of the Rapidan River on 4 May to the initiation of the crossing of the James River on 15 June. Although this volume focuses on the operational level of war, it provides a heavy dose of tactical analysis, making this ride a superb tool for developing Army leaders at almost all levels.

Designed to be completed in three days, this staff ride is flexible enough to allow persons or units to conduct a one-day or two-day ride that will still enable a full range of insights. The book includes 467 pages of text, maps, instructions, and bibliography.


Dr. Curtis S. King is an associate professor for the Staff Ride Team, Combat Studies Institute, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and an adjunct professor at Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas. He graduated from the United States Military Academy with a B.S. in History and English Literature, and received a Ph.D. in Russian and Soviet history from the University of Pennsylvania. While on active duty, Dr. King served as an instructor at the United States Military Academy, a professor at the Combat Studies Institute, and spent a 6-month tour in Sarajevo, Bosnia, as a NATO historian. He retired from the Army in May 2002, and since October of that year he has been with the Combat Studies Institute. Dr. King has published numerous articles and entries to edited works on a wide variety of military history topics.

Dr. William Glenn Robertson is the Command Historian, US Army Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth, and the Deputy Director, Combat Studies Institute, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Previous positions include Chief of Staff Rides, Combat Studies Institute; and Professor and Associate Professor, Combat Studies Institute. He received a B.A. in History from the University of Richmond, an M.A. in History from the University of Virginia, and a Ph.D. in History from the University of Virginia. Dr. Robertson’s published works include The Staff Ride; Staff Ride Handbook for the Battle of Chickamauga, 18–20 September 1863; The Battle of Chickamauga; and numerous other publications and articles.

Lieutenant Colonel Steven E. Clay is the Chief of the Research and Publications Team, Combat Studies Institute, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Previous assignments at Fort Leavenworth include Chief of the Staff Ride Team and Executive Officer of the Combat Studies Institute. He received a B.A. in History from North Georgia College, an M.A. in History from Southwest Texas State University, and graduated from the US Army Command and General Staff College. LTC Clay’s published works include Blood and Sacrifice: A History of the 16th Infantry from the Civil War to the Gulf War; several entries in the Historical Dictionary of the United States Army; and various articles for professional magazines.

From CWBN:
This is the trade release of a previously published government document. The exact day of release this month is not known.

Staff Ride Handbook for the Battle of Shiloh, 6-7 April 1862: A Leavenworth Staff Ride from the Combat Studies Institute

by Jeffrey J. Gudmens

From the publisher:
The Leavenworth Staff Ride Team guides military students on battlefields around the world. This series of staff ride guides serves in lieu of a Leavenworth instructor.

Jeffrey Gudmens' book provides a systematic encounter with Shiloh. Part I shows the organization of the armies. Part II consists of a campaign overview. Part III is a suggested route for conducting a staff ride. For each stop, or "stand," there is a set of travel directions, a description of the action that occurred there, vignettes, a list of teaching points, and a map of the battle. Part IV explains the integration phase of a staff ride. Suggested areas of discussion are included. Part V tells how to conduct a staff ride at Shiloh. Appendix A provides the order of battle, including numbers engaged and casualties. Appendix B provides key participants' biographical information. Appendix C is a list of Medal of Honor recipients for actions at Shiloh.

An annotated bibliography gives sources for preliminary study.

Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey J. “Benny” Gudmens was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. He received a B.A. in history from the University of Dayton and an M.A. in Civil War studies from American Military University. His assignments include platoon leader and company executive officer, 82d Airborne Division; airborne company command, 6th Division; assistant G3 air, XVIII Airborne Corps during Operations DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM; observer/controller, Joint Readiness Training Center; battalion operations officer, 5-20 Infantry, Fort Lewis, Washington; operations officer, Battle Command Training Program, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas; and operations adviser to the Royal Saudi Land Forces. He is currently an associate professor at the Combat Studies Institute, US Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth.

From CWBN:
This is the new trade release of a previous government publication. The exact day of release this month is not known.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Looking for Lincoln: The Making of an American Icon

by Philip B. Kunhardt III and Peter W. Kunhardt

From the publisher:
In honor of the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln’s birth, an extensively researched, lavishly illustrated consideration of the myths, memories, and questions that gathered around our most beloved—and our most enigmatic—president in the years between his assassination and the dedication of the Lincoln Memorial in 1922. A sequel to the enormously successful Lincoln: An Illustrated Biography, Looking for Lincoln picks up where the previous book left off, examining how our sixteenth president’s legend came into being.

Availing themselves of a vast collection of both published and never-before-seen materials, the authors—the fourth and fifth generations of a family of Lincoln scholars—bring into focus the posthumous portrait of Lincoln that took hold in the American imagination, becoming synonymous with the nation’s very understanding of itself. Told through the voices of those who knew the man—Northerners and Southerners, blacks and whites, neighbors and family members, adversaries and colleagues—and through stories carefully selected from long-forgotten newspapers, magazines, and family scrapbooks, Looking for Lincoln charts the dramatic epilogue to Lincoln’s extraordinary life when, in a process fraught with jealousy, greed, and the struggle for power, the scope of his historical significance was taking shape.

In vibrant and immediate detail, the authors chart the years when Americans struggled to understand their loss and rebuild their country. Here is a chronicle of the immediate aftermath of the assassination; the private memories of those closest to the slain president; the difficult period between 1876 and 1908, when a tired nation turned its back on the former slaves and betrayed Lincoln’s teachings; and the early years of the twentieth century when Lincoln’s popularity soared as African Americans fought to reclaim the ideals he espoused.

Looking for Lincoln will deeply enhance our understanding of the statesman and his legacy, at a moment when the timeless example of his leadership is more crucial than ever.

Confederate Ironclad vs Union Ironclad: Hampton Roads 1862

by Ron Field (Author), Howard Gerrard (Illustrator), Peter Bull (Illustrator)

From the publisher:
This is an Osprey color illustrated series title.

The ironclad was a revolutionary weapon of war. Although iron was used for protection in the Far East during the 16th century, it was the 19th century and the American Civil War that heralded the first modern armored self-propelled warships. With the parallel pressures of civil war and the industrial revolution, technology advanced at a breakneck speed. It was the South who first utilized ironclads as they attempted to protect their ports from the Northern blockade. Impressed with their superior resistance to fire and their ability to ram vulnerable wooden ships, the North began to develop its own rival fleet of ironclads. Eventually these two products of this first modern arms race dueled at the battle of Hampton Roads in a clash that would change the face of naval warfare.

Fully illustrated with cutting-edge digital artwork, rare photographs and first-person perspective gun sight views, this book allows the reader to discover the revolutionary and radically different designs of the two rival Ironclads - the CSS Virginia and USS Monitor - through an analysis of each ship's weaponry, ammunition and steerage. Compare the contrasting training of the crews and re-live the horrors of the battle at sea in a war which split a nation, communities and even families.

Ron Field is Head of History at the Cotswold School in Bourton-on-the-Water. He was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship in 1982 and taught history at Piedmont High School in California from 1982 to 1983. He was associate editor of the Confederate Historical Society of Great Britain, from 1983 to 1992. He is an internationally acknowledged expert on US Civil War military history, and was elected a Fellow of the Company of Military Historians, based in Washington, DC, in 2005. The author lives in Cheltenham, UK.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Baltimore Plot: The First Conspiracy to Assassinate Abraham Lincoln

by Michael J. Kline

From the publisher:
On February 11, 1861, the "Lincoln Special" - Abraham Lincoln's private train—began its journey from Springfield, Illinois, to the City of Washington, carrying the president-elect to his inauguration as the sixteenth president of the United States. Considered a "sectional candidate" by the South, and winning the election without the popular vote, Lincoln was so despised that seven states immediately seceded from the Union. Over the next twelve days, Lincoln would speak at numerous stops, including Indianapolis, Columbus, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Albany, New York, and Philadelphia, expressing his desire to maintain the Union. But as Lincoln made his way east, America's first private detective, Allan Pinkerton, and a separate undercover operation by New York City detectives, uncovered startling evidence of a conspiracy to assassinate Lincoln during his next-to-last stop in Baltimore. Long a site of civil unrest—even Robert E. Lee's father, Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee, was nearly beaten to death in its streets—Baltimore provided the perfect environment for a strike. The largest city of a border state with secessionist sympathies, Baltimore had been infiltrated by paramilitary groups bent on killing Lincoln, the "Black Republican." The death of the president-elect would, it was supposed, throw the nation into chaos and allow the South to establish a new nation and claim Washington as its capital. Warned in time, Lincoln outfoxed the alleged conspirators by slipping through Baltimore undetected, but at a steep price. Ridiculed by the press for "cowardice" and the fact that no conspirators were charged, Lincoln would never hide from the public again. Four years later, when he sat unprotected in the balcony of Ford's Theatre, the string of conspiracies against his life finally succeeded. One of the great presidential mysteries and long a source of fascination among Lincoln scholars, the Baltimore Plot has never been fully investigated until now. In The Baltimore Plot: The First Conspiracy to Assassinate Abraham Lincoln, Michael J. Kline turns his legal expertise to evaluating primary sources in order to discover the extent of the conspiracy and culpability of the many suspects surrounding the case. Full of memorable characters, including Kate Warne, the first female undercover agent, and intriguing plot twists, the story is written as an unfolding criminal proceeding in which the author allows the reader to determine whether there was a true plot to kill Lincoln and if the perpetrators could have been brought to trial.

MICHAEL J. KLINE is a senior corporate attorney in Atlanta. He is the former editor of the Journal of Law and Commerce.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Lincoln's Veteran Volunteers Win the War: The Hudson Valley's Ross Brothers and the Union's Fight for Emancipation

by D. Reid Ross

From the publisher:
Looking at the lives of the four Ross brothers, dedicated Union soldiers from upstate New York's Washington County, Lincoln's Veteran Volunteers Win the War offers a dramatic, in-depth account of struggle, devotion, family, and faith during the American Civil War. Three of the four brothers--Daniel, Melancton, and William--were among the two hundred thousand who enlisted for three years when the war broke out, and then reenlisted as battle-hardened Veteran Volunteers. The fourth brother, John, would sign up as soon as he reached the age of eighteen, and fought until the war's end. The Ross brothers and their regiments fought in nearly every major engagement of the conflict, including Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Chickamauga, and Missionary Ridge.

Using public documents, regimental histories, and personal sources that comprise hundreds of letters and personal narratives written by the Ross brothers and many other soldiers, author D. Reid Ross (grandson of Daniel) provides detailed and vivid descriptions of soldiers' attitudes toward President Lincoln and emancipation, courage and performance on the battlefield, the hardships of army life, the role of the Veteran Volunteers, and the Grand Review in Washington, D.C. after the end of the war. Also included is the story of captured Confederate President Jefferson Davis's journey to prison as described by his guard, Daniel Ross. Demonstrating the Ross brothers' unflinching belief in home, family, country, and duty, and, as the culmination of thirty years of research, this fascinating book offers a view of the Civil War that is expansive, personal, and inspirational.

"A major breakthrough in Civil War history." -- Edwin C. Bearss, author of Fields of Honor: Pivotal Battles of the Civil War

"Ross's extensive and intensive exploration of both primary and secondary sources enabled him to take his family story and transform it into a meaningful statement about both the Civil War and this nation's divided psyche. His willingness to travel thousands of miles in order to access hundreds of primary sources moves this history beyond another run-of-the-mill `I found these letters in the attic' chapter in Civil War history." -- Joel M. Jones, President Emeritus, Fort Lewis College

"As a general reader, I have been captured and moved by the author's narrative powers and the brilliance of his battlefield scenes. The convincing portraits of individual soldiers and officers carry the reader throughout the book." -- Jurgen Herbst, Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Wisconsin

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Lee in the Lowcountry: Defending Charleston & Savannah 1861-1862

by Daniel J. Crooks Jr.

From the publisher:
In so many words, General Lee laid out the challenge of defending the young Southern Republic and two of its key cities: Charleston and Savannah. While in the Lowcountry, Lee acquired the two most famous trademarks of his wartime career. Long hours in the saddle prompted Lee to grow his signature beard and, while at Pocotaligo, he acquired his beloved equine companion, Traveller.

Charleston historian Danny Crooks examines Lee's first year serving the Confederacy, a year of confusion and convoluted loyalty. Using Lee's own words and those of his contemporaries, Crooks helps the reader to understand why Lee, and only Lee, could bring order to the early chaos of the war.

South Carolina Military Organizations During the War Between the States: Statewide Units, Militia & Reserves

by Robert S. Seigler

From the publisher:
Volume IV of this landmark series traces the military groups raised from all parts of the state from Oconee to Horry to Beaufort as well as militia and reserves.

In this anticipated four-volume series, author Robert Seigler presents a comprehensive review of South Carolina's Civil War troops in incomparable detail. Revealing the origination of military organizations from the three major geographical regions of the state, as well as those units whose men came from all parts of the state, Seigler outlines the frontline infantry, cavalry and artillery units, as well as militia, reserves and state troops that were critical to the Confederate efforts.

For every regiment and battalion, Seigler analyzes when, where and under what legal authority each one was organized, and then provides a biographical sketch of the field officers for every unit. Included in each company history, in addition to its geographical origins, are a wartime biography of each captain and Seigler's special interest, company nicknames. Finally, a summary is provided of each unit's major movements and engagements.

South Carolina's Military Organizations During the War Between the States: The Upstate

by Robert S. Seigler

From the publisher:
Volume III of this landmark series traces the military groups raised from Pickens and Anderson, Newberry and Laurens, Greenville and Spartanburg and parts in between.

In this anticipated four-volume series, author Robert Seigler presents a comprehensive review of South Carolina's Civil War troops in incomparable detail. Revealing the origination of military organizations from the three major geographical regions of the state, as well as those units whose men came from all parts of the state, Seigler outlines the frontline infantry, cavalry and artillery units, as well as militia, reserves and state troops that were critical to the Confederate efforts.

For every regiment and battalion, Seigler analyzes when, where and under what legal authority each one was organized, and then provides a biographical sketch of the field officers for every unit. Included in each company history, in addition to its geographical origins, are a wartime biography of each captain and Seigler's special interest, company nicknames. Finally, a summary is provided of each unit's major movements and engagements.

South Carolina's Military Organizations During the War Between the States: The Midlands

by Robert S. Seigler

From the publisher:
Volume II of this landmark series traces the military groups raised from Lancaster and Darlington, Camden and Columbia, Orangeburg and Edgefield and parts in between.

In this anticipated four-volume series, author Robert Seigler presents a comprehensive review of South Carolina's Civil War troops in incomparable detail. Revealing the origination of military organizations from the three major geographical regions of the state, as well as those units whose men came from all parts of the state, Seigler outlines the frontline infantry, cavalry and artillery units, as well as militia, reserves and state troops that were critical to the Confederate efforts.

For every regiment and battalion, Seigler analyzes when, where and under what legal authority each one was organized, and then provides a biographical sketch of the field officers for every unit. Included in each company history, in addition to its geographical origins, are a wartime biography of each captain and Seigler s special interest, company nicknames. Finally, a summary is provided of each unit's major movements and engagements.

South Carolina's Military Organizations During the War Between the States: The Lowcountry & Pee Dee

by Robert S. Seigler

From the publisher:
In this anticipated four-volume series, author Robert Seigler presents a comprehensive review of South Carolina's Civil War troops in incomparable detail. Revealing the origination of military organizations from the three major geographical regions of the state, as well as those units whose men came from all parts of the state, Seigler outlines the frontline infantry, cavalry and artillery units, as well as militia, reserves and state troops that were critical to the Confederate efforts.

For every regiment and battalion, Seigler analyzes when, where and under what legal authority each one was organized, and then provides a biographical sketch of the field officers for every unit. Included in each company history, in addition to its geographical origins, are a wartime biography of each captain and Seigler s special interest, company nicknames. Finally, a summary is provided of each unit's major movements and engagements.

Volume I of this landmark series traces the military groups raised from Charleston and McClellanville, Sumter and Clarendon, Horry and Marion and parts in between.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Brady's Civil War Journal: Photographing the War 1861-1865

by Theodore P. Savas

From the publisher:
Mathew Brady and his ground breaking team of assistants risked life and liberty to capture up-close images of the fury of the American Civil War and its aftermath. Brady actually got so close to the action during the First Battle of Bull Run that he only narrowly avoided capture. Brady's Civil War Journal chronicles the events of the war by showcasing a selection of Brady's moving, one-of-a-kind images and describing each in terms of its significance. The text by Theodore P. Savas, authoritative expert on the Civil War, adds context to Brady's memorable photographs, creating an unrivaled visual account of the most costly conflict in American history as it unfolded. 150 b/w photographs.

Theodore P. Savas has written, ghostwritten, edited, or co-authored several dozen Civil War books over the past 15 years and has written over 20 articles that have appeared in a wide variety of journals and magazines, led tours around Civil War battlefields, and given lectures all over the country on the subject. He lives in El Dorado Hills, California.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Man of Douglas, Man of Lincoln

by Ian Michael Spurgeon

From the publisher:
In 1855, James Lane, this former Mexican War colonel and Indiana congressman, entered Kansas Territory to take a leading role in its quest for statehood, and over the next twelve years he followed a seemingly inconsistent ideological path from pro-Douglas Democrat to Free Stater to pro-Lincoln Republican. His fiery stump speeches and radical ideas won him a Senate seat along with an army of critics and a cloud that hangs over his reputation to this day. Spurgeon reassesses both Lane's position swings and his role in history, finding a consistency in his ideals that few historians have recognized. He argues that Lane was a steadfast champion of both the Union and his own conception of democratic principles.

Ian Michael Spurgeon is an independent scholar living in Okinawa, Japan.

Lee's Last Casualty: The Life and Letters of Sgt. Robert W. Parker, Second Virginia Cavalry

by Catherine Wright

From the publisher:
“These poignant letters provide readers with a rich portrait of Parker, a thoughtful, caring young Virginian concerned about his family and farm, but also torn by his sense of loyalty to the Confederacy. Anyone reading just a few of Parker's letters will see the undeniable tie between the homefront and battlefront, the tie between a soldier's duty and his family.” -Lesley J. Gordon, co-editor, Inside the Confederate Nation: Essays in Honor of Emory M. Thomas

The letters assembled in this extraordinarily rich collection were written by Robert W. Parker, an enlisted Confederate cavalryman who is thought to have been the last man killed in action in the Army of Northern Virginia during the Civil War. He is representative of the Confederate Everyman: a modest farmer in the antebellum years, his patriotic fervor spurred him at the beginning of the war to enlist in the Confederate Army, in which he served until his death during the last charge at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865.

Parker fought in most of the major campaigns in Virginia, including the 1862 Valley Campaign, the 1862 Peninsula Campaign, the 1863 Maryland Campaign, and the 1864 Overland Campaign. In letters to his wife Rebecca back home in Bedford County, Virginia, Parker described his life as an enlisted soldier in the Second Regiment Virginia Cavalry. His letters reveal how local communities worked together to provide the necessary stuff of war to soldiers, from food and clothing to moral support. They also show the importance of correspondence and religion in sustaining Confederate morale and nationalism.

Catherine Wright provides a valuable introduction that illuminates not only these particular letters but also the many roles of correspondence during the Civil War. She points out how women-in this case, Parker's wife and his mother-made sure that men in the ranks understood that more than politics or manly honor was at stake in fighting the Yankees. Parker believed that the war was a supreme test in which God would look deep into the souls of Northerners and Southerners. His private beliefs informed his public views on how Southerners should act as citizens of a Confederate nation. People of all classes, Parker reasoned, had to give themselves to country and to God if Southern armies were to succeed on the battlefield. Parker's steadfastness was surely due in part to the words of his family, who instilled in him “just cause” to continue fighting.

Anyone with an interest in how a typical soldier experienced the Civil War will find these letters both absorbing and enlightening.

Catherine M. Wright is a collections manager at the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, Virginia. She was formerly a curator at the Stonewall Jackson House in Lexington, Virginia.

The Fog of Gettysburg: The Myth and Mysteries of a Battle

by Kenneth L. Allers Jr.

From the publisher:
Pennsylvanians have a saying: "America was born in Philadelphia and saved at Gettysburg." In this way they acknowledge that Gettysburg was the defining battle of the Civil War.

Many books have covered the battle of Gettysburg as whole--fiction and nonfiction. And even more have looked at the action in particular areas of the battlefield, at certain aspects of the conflict, or at the actions of various units or individuals. Until now no book has focused on the confusion of the battle and the many unanswered questions that continue to this day.

The Fog of Gettysburg covers the myths, misunderstandings, and mysteries of the battle, the episodes that still provoke questions about what happened or why. Now readers will have a place to go to look for the answers to such questions as:

Were the people of Gettysburg unaware that a battle was brewing, or were they awaiting it?

Was George Sandoe the first casualty of Gettysburg?

Was Jennie Wade a Southern sympathizer?

Why did the war start west of town instead of elsewhere?

Was John F. Reynolds killed by a sharpshooter or by friendly fire?

What were Robert E. Lee's exact orders to Jeb Stuart?

Who gave the order to attack at sunrise on July 1?

Did Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain win Gettysburg on July 2?

Who ordered the flank attack on July 3?

How did George A. Custer defeat Stuart?

How many people actually died?

How many civilians were killed?

Who buried the Confederates?

The Fog of Gettysburg is divided into five sections, each with approximately ten episodes, covering the period leading up to the battle, the three days of battle (July 1-3, 1864), and the period following the battle. Containing four maps and more than twenty-five photographs, the book is a valuable resource for anyone who is fascinated by the issues about Gettysburg that continue to this day.

Ken Allers Jr. is a member of the Association of Licensed Battlefield Guides to Gettysburg. He lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Jefferson Davis and the Civil War Era

by William J. Cooper Jr.

From the publisher:
With his masterpiece, Jefferson Davis, American, William J. Cooper, Jr., crafted a sweeping, definitive biography and established himself as the foremost scholar on the intriguing Confederate president. Cooper narrows his focus considerably in Jefferson Davis and the Civil War Era, aiming his expert eye specifically on Davis's participation in and influence on events central to the American Civil War. In nine self-contained essays, he addresses how Davis reacted to and dealt with a variety of issues that were key to the coming of the war, the war itself, or in memorializing the war, sharply illuminating Davis's role during those turbulent years.

Cooper opens with an analysis of Davis as an antebellum politician, challenging the standard view of Davis as either a dogmatic priest of principle or an inept bureaucrat. Next, he looks closely at Davis's complex association with secession, which included, surprisingly, a profound devotion to the Union. Six studies explore Davis and the Confederate experience, with topics including states' rights, the politics of command and strategic decisions, Davis in the role of war leader, the war in the West, and the meaning of the war. The final essay compares and contrasts Davis's first inauguration in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1861 with a little-known dedication of a monument to Confederate soldiers in the same city twenty-five years later. In 1886, Davis--an old man of seventy-eight and in poor health--had himself become a living monument, Cooper explains, and was an essential element in the formation of the Lost Cause ideology.

Cooper's succinct interpretations provide straightforward, compact, and deceptively deep new approaches to understanding Davis during the most critical time in his life. Certain to stimulate further thought and spark debate, Jefferson Davis and the Civil War Era offers rare insight into one of American history's most complicated and provocative figures.

William J. Cooper, Jr., is the author of Jefferson Davis, American; The Conservative Regime: South Carolina, 1877-1890; The South and the Politics of Slavery, 1828-1856; and Liberty and Slavery: Southern Politics to 1860 and coauthor of The American South: A History. The recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities, he has won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Biography and the Jefferson Davis Award, among other honors. A Boyd Professor of History at Louisiana State University, he lives in Baton Rouge.

From CWBN:
The day of release this month has not been specified by the publisher.

THOSE DAMNED BLACK HATS!: The Iron Brigade in the Gettysburg Campaign

by Lance Herdegen

From the publisher:
The Iron Brigade--an all-Western outfit famously branded as The Iron Brigade of the West--served out their enlistments entirely in the Eastern Theater. Hardy men were these soldiers from Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan, who waged war beneath their unique black Hardee Hats on many fields, from Brawner's Farm during the Second Bull Run Campaign all the way to Appomattox. In between were memorable combats at South Mountain, Antietam, Chancellorsville, Mine Run, the Overland Campaign, and the grueling fighting around Petersburg. None of these battles compared with the "four long hours" of July 1, 1863, at Gettysburg, where the Iron Brigade was all but wrecked.

Lance Herdegen's Those Damned Black Hats! The Iron Brigade in the Gettysburg Campaign is the first book-length account of their remarkable experiences in Pennsylvania during that fateful summer of 1863. Drawing upon a wealth of sources, including dozens of previously unpublished or unused accounts, Herdegen details for the first time the exploits of the 2nd, 6th, 7th Wisconsin, 19th Indiana, and 24th Michigan regiments during the entire campaign. On July 1, the Western troops stood line-to-line and often face-to-face with their Confederate adversaries, who later referred to them as "those damned Black Hats." With the help of other stalwart comrades, the Hoosiers, Badgers, and Wolverines shed copious amounts of blood to save the Army of the Potomac's defensive position west of town. Their heroics above Willoughby Run, along the Chambersburg Pike, and at the Railroad Cut helped define the opposing lines for the rest of the battle and, perhaps, won the battle that helped preserve the Union.

Herdegen's account is much more than a battle study. The story of the fighting at the "Bloody Railroad Cut" is well known, but the attack and defense of McPherson's Ridge, the final stand at Seminary Ridge, the occupation of Culp's Hill, and the final pursuit of the Confederate Army has never been explored in sufficient depth or with such story telling ability. Herdegen completes the journey of the Black Hats with an account of the reconciliation at the 50th Anniversary Reunion and the Iron Brigade's place in Civil War history.

"Where has the firmness of the Iron Brigade at Gettysburg been surpassed in history?" asked Rufus Dawes of the 6th Wisconsin. Indeed, it was a fair question. The brigade marched to Gettysburg with 1,883 men in ranks and by nightfall on July 1, only 671 men were still to be counted. It would fight on to the end of the Civil War, and do so without its all-Western makeup, but never again was it a major force in battle.

Some 150 years after the last member of the Iron Brigade laid down his life for his country, the complete story of what the Black Hats did at Gettysburg and how they remembered it is finally available.

From CWBN:
The day of release this month has not been specified by the publisher.

Where Men Only Dare to Go: Or the Story of a Boy Company, CSA

by Royall W. Figg

From the publisher:
First published in 1885 and long out of print, Where Men Only Dare to Go by Royall W. Figg remains a classic memoir of Confederate service.

This updated edition, with a new foreword by historian Robert K. Krick, brings Figg's captivating narrative back into print. Figg tells the story of Captain William W. Parker's Virginia battery, a significant Confederate unit that participated in every important engagement fought by the Army of Northern Virginia. Comprised mainly of young men, it became known as "Parker's Boy Battery." Figg joined the company at age twenty as a charter member at the battery's initial muster on March 14, 1862. He appears on each of the battery's fourteen bimonthly muster rolls from March 1862 to February 1865--an unusually devoted service record. His devotion is evident in the detailed accounting he provides of the battery's history, a vivid and engaging record of the experiences of a Confederate artillerist providing a rich blend of bravery, rascally behavior, and drollery.

J. Thompson Brown, the last commander of Parker's Virginia Battery, described Figg as "a fair representative of our Company, an intelligent fairly educated boy. . . . He was a truthful and Christian gentleman. . . . I believe what he says, as no man could doubt Royal W. Figg's statement." The reappearance of Where Men Only Dare to Go after so many years offers a new generation a chance to read the eyewitness report of this bright, observant young soldier who fought through the famous battles in the eastern theater.

Royall W. Figg was a member of Parker's Virginia Battery in Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia.

From CWBN:
The day of release this month has not been specified by the publisher.

The Fate of Texas: The Civil War in the Lone Star State

by Charles D. Grear

From the publisher:
In its examination of a state too often neglected by Civil War historians, The Fate of Texas presents Texas as a decidedly southern, yet in many ways unusual, state seriously committed to and deeply affected by the Confederate war effort in a multitude of ways. When the state joined the Confederacy and fought in the war, its fate was uncertain. The war touched every portion of the population and all aspects of life in Texas. Never before has a group of historians examined the impact of the war on so many facets of the state.

The eleven essays in this collection present cutting edge, original research by noted historians, who provide a new understanding of the role and reactions of Texas and Texans to the war. The book covers a wide range of topics, providing new perspectives, ranging from military, social, and cultural history to public history and historical memory. Some of the subjects explored include the lives of Texas women, slavery, veterans, and how the state dealt with confederate loss.

"A well conceived and highly important addition to Civil War literature. . . . [that] offers a complex, multi-dimensional, yet thoroughly accessible set of major contributions to the historiography of the Civil War." --T. Michael Parrish, Baylor University

From CWBN:
The day of release this month has not been specified by the publisher.

Blacks, Carpetbaggers, and Scalawags: The Constitutional Conventions of Radical Reconstruction

by Richard L. Hume and Jerry B. Gough

From the publisher:
After the Civil War, Congress required ten former Confederate states to rewrite their constitutions before they could be readmitted to the Union. An electorate composed of newly enfranchised former slaves, native Southern whites (minus significant numbers of disenfranchised former Confederate officials), and a small contingent of "carpetbaggers," or outside whites, sent delegates to ten constitutional conventions. Derogatorily labeled "black and tan" by their detractors, these assemblies wrote constitutions and submitted them to Congress and to the voters in their respective states for approval. Blacks, Carpetbaggers, and Scalawags offers a quantitative study of these decisive but little-understood assemblies--the first elected bodies in the United States to include a significant number of blacks.

Richard L. Hume and Jerry B. Gough scoured manuscript census returns to determine the age, occupation, property holdings, literacy, and slaveholdings of 839 of the conventions' 1,018 delegates. Carefully analyzing convention voting records on certain issues--including race, suffrage, and government structure--they correlate delegates' voting patterns with their racial and socioeconomic status. Hume and Gough then assign a "Republican support score" to each delegate who voted often enough to count, establishing the degree to which each delegate adhered to the Republican leaders' program at his convention. Using these scores, they divide the delegates into three groups--radicals, swing voters, and conservatives--and incorporate their quantitative findings into the narrative histories of each convention, providing, for the first time, a detailed analysis of these long-overlooked assemblies.

Hume and Gough's comprehensive study offers an objective look at the accomplishments and shortcomings of the conventions and humanizes the delegates who have until now been understood largely as stereotypes. Blacks, Carpetbaggers, and Scalawags provides an essential reference guide for anyone seeking a better understanding of the Reconstruction era.

Richard L. Hume is a professor of history at Washington State University and coeditor of God Made Man, Man Made the Slave: The Autobiography of George Teamoh. Jerry B. Gough is an associate professor of history at Washington State University and coeditor of The Plutonium Story: The Journals of Professor Glenn T. Seaborg, 1939-1946.

From CWBN:
The day of release this month has not been specified by the publisher

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The 25Th North Carolina Infantry: History and Roster of a Mountain-bred Regiment in the Civil War

by Carroll C. Jones

From the publisher:
This historical account covers the 25th Regiment North Carolina infantry troops during the Civil War. Farmers and farmers' sons left their mountain homesteads to enlist with the regiment at Asheville in August 1861 in order to defend their homeland from a Yankee invasion. The book chronicles the unit's defensive activities in the Carolina coastal regions and the battlefield actions at Seven Days, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Plymouth, and Petersburg. In addition, casualty and desertion statistics are included, along with a complete regimental roster and more than 125 photos, illustrations, and maps.

Engineering consultant Carroll C. Jones is a North Carolina native and Civil War enthusiast.

Andersonvilles Of The North: The Myths and Realities of Northern Treatment of Civil War Confederate Prisoners

by James M. Gillispie

From the publisher:
Soon after the close of military operations in the American Civil War, another war began over how it would be remembered by future generations. The prisoner-of-war issue has figured prominently in Northern and Southern writing about the conflict. Northerners used tales of Andersonville to demonize the Confederacy, while Southerners vilified Northern prison policies to show the depths to which Yankees had sunk to attain victory.

Over the years the postwar Northern portrayal of Andersonville as fiendishly designed to kill prisoners in mass quantities has largely been dismissed. The "Lost Cause" characterization of Union prison policies as criminally negligent and inhumane, however, has shown remarkable durability. Northern officials have been portrayed as turning their military prisons into concentration camps where Southern prisoners were poorly fed, clothed, and sheltered, resulting in inexcusably high numbers of deaths.

Andersonvilles of the North, by James M. Gillispie, represents the first broad study to argue that the image of Union prison officials as negligent and cruel to Confederate prisoners is severely flawed. This study is not an attempt to "whitewash" Union prison policies or make light of Confederate prisoner mortality. But once the careful reader disregards unreliable postwar polemics, and focuses exclusively on the more reliable wartime records and documents from both Northern and Southern sources, then a much different, less negative, picture of Northern prison life emerges. While life in Northern prisons was difficult and potentially deadly, no evidence exists of a conspiracy to neglect or mistreat Southern captives. Confederate prisoners' suffering and death were due to a number of factors, but it would seem that Yankee apathy and malice were rarely among them.

In fact, likely the most significant single factor in Confederate (and all) prisoner mortality during the Civil War was the halting of the prisoner exchange cartel in the late spring of 1863. Though Northern officials have long been condemned for coldly calculating that doing so aided their war effort, the evidence convincingly suggests that the South's staunch refusal to exchange black Union prisoners was actually the key sticking point in negotiations to resume exchanges from mid-1863 to 1865.

Ultimately Gillispie concludes that Northern prisoner-of-war policies were far more humane and reasonable than generally depicted. His careful analysis will be welcomed by historians of the Civil War, the South, and of American history.

King Cotton Diplomacy: Foreign Relations of the Confederate States of America

by Frank L. Owsley; revised by Harriet Chappell Owsley

From the publisher:
"[T]he most important contribution that has so far been made to the diplomatic history of the United States during this period. Owsley recognizes the significance of economic forces underlying politics and diplomacy with the result that he has extended the scope of his study beyond the documents and given a much more valid interpretation of the diplomatic history of this period" --Mississippi Valley Historical Review

The exhaustive, definitive study of Southern attempts to gain international support for the Confederacy by leveraging the cotton supply for European intervention during the Civil War. Using previously untapped sources from Britain and France, along with documents from the Confederacy's state department, Frank Owsley's King Cotton Diplomacy is the first archival-based study of Confederate diplomacy.

"On its initial publication King Cotton Diplomacy was hailed as a definitive study of Confederate foreign affairs. It was most highly acclaimed for its fresh interpretations of the reasons why England and France refused to grant recognition and aid to the Confederacy. Harriet Chappell Owsley presents a new and revised edition . . . and has in many places tightened and improved the literary style, but she has permitted the new volume to retain both the substance and the flavor of the earlier edition." --Mississippi Valley Historical Journal

"For the assistance given the Confederacy by British shipping interests, as well as for a definitive criticism of Confederate and Northern policy, consult King Cotton Diplomacy by Frank Lawrence Owsley."
--Time Magazine


Frank Lawrence Owsley (1890-1956) taught at Auburn, Birmingham-Southern, and then at Vanderbilt for 29 years before becoming the first incumbent of the Hugo Friedman Chair in Southern History at The University of Alabama in 1949. His other works include States Rights in the Confederacy and Plain Folk of the Old South.

From CWBN:
This is a revision of the 1931 classic.